Medieval Painting of Saints Peter & Paul, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire
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Saints Peter & Paul : Hook Norton, Oxfordshire (Oxford) C.15

Photo:T.Marshall St. Peter, Hook Norton (166KB)

These photographs from Hook Norton, digitised from some rather elderly slides, leave something to be desired, but they will have to suffice St. Paul, Hook Norton (87KB)until I can get back to the church. St. Peter is at the left, holding his key (only faintly visible now against the rapidly deteriorating reddish background) At the right and shown in the photograph at the right here is St. Paul, holding the downturned sword of his martyrdom.

No one would claim that the Hook Norton paintings are great art, but, like many another medieval wall painting in rural England, they have an undeniable rustic charm. The two saints (often found together - there are several examples among the paintings on this site) flank the chancel arch and each is accompanied by an angel.The angels are rather impressive with their carefully painted extended wings which I think once had had the ‘peacock’ patterning found elsewhere, including in élite art. The angel below Peter is shown kneeling below his figure here Angel below St. Peter, Hook Norton (96KB) and Angel below St. Paul, Hook Norton (104KB)that below St. Paul in a corresponding position below Paul on the right. The ‘peacock's eye’ wing pattern is detectable here as well. One odd feature is the book shown on the lower part of this angel's robe. Perhaps it is intended for Paul’s Epistles, signalling his specific mission to the Gentiles and his consequent slightly anomalous position in relation to the original group of twelve followers of Christ. Given the feverish state of 15th century theology in England there is really no telling.

Links to other pages for saints, including Peter and Paul, on this site are in the table below.

I managed to miss the cauldron of Hell at Hook Norton, but this link will take you to a photograph.

Anglo-Saxon font with Adam and Eve, Hook Norton (68KB) But ultimately the great glory of Hook Norton church is the very remarkable Anglo-Saxon font pictured at the left. It is sometimes described as having ‘pagan’ Signs of the Zodiac, but this can be misleading. Sagittarius, clearly labelled as such, is indeed there (on the opposite side and thus not visible here), but so are Adam and Eve, with the Tree of Life, and this photograph shows them in their postlapsarian state - Eve trying to cover her pudenda at the left, and Adam, now under the Curse of Labour, with a spade, and a rake held over his shoulder. The identifying inscriptions are fading fast, but a drawing produced by an expert in Anglo-Saxon sculpture confirms the identity of the figures.

Find it by following this link Fig. 236, p.25 and searching the PDF for Hook Norton. Trying to separate pagan and Christian imagery in eleventh-century England can be very problematic indeed.

The Saints : Links to all the examples currently on this site
St. Andrew Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read-Corby Glen, Lincolnshire St. Antony and the Pig, Barton, Cambridgeshire St. Barbara : Hessett, Suffolk St. Bartholomew : Selling, Kent St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Castor, Cambs St Catherine of Alexandria, Cold Overton, Leicestershire NEW St.Catherine of Alexandria : Hardley Street, Norfolk
St.Catherine of Alexandria : Old Weston, Northants St.Catherine of Alexandria : Pickering, N. Yorks St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Sporle, Norfolk St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyrdom of: Burton Latimer, Northants NEW St. Catherine of Alexandria or another female saint : Ashley, Hampshire NEW St. Clement : South Leigh, Oxon. Scenes from the life of St. Cuthbert : Pittington, Co. Durham NEW St. Dunstan holding the Devil by the nose : Barton, Cambs
St.Edmund : Boxford, Suffolk St. Edmund : Lakenheath, Suffolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Bishopsbourne, Kent St.Edmund, Martyrdom of : Fritton, Norfolk St. Edmund (or St. Walstan) : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N.Yorks St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Troston, Suffolk
St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Weare Giffard, Devon St.Eloi, Broughton, Bucks St. Eloi and the possessed horse, Slapton, Northants St. Eloi, as bishop & blacksmith, Wensley, N.Yorks St.Erasmus, Martyrdom of : Chippenham, Cambs St. Etheldreda : Willingham, Cambs St. Francis Preaching to the Birds : Little Kimble, Bucks St.Francis Preaching to the Birds : Wissington, Suffolk
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Slapton, Northants St. George & Dragon : Banningham, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Broughton, Bucks St. George & Dragon : Earl Stonham, Suffolk St. George & Dragon : Fritton, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Hornton, Oxon St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin : Astbury, Cheshire St. George, with the princess : Little Kimble, Bucks
St. George & the Dragon : Kirtlington, Oxon NEW St.Helena, Broughton, Bucks St.James the Great : Hales, Norfolk Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire St. James the Great, meeting pilgrims : Wisborough Green, Sussex St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Heydon, Norfolk St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Idsworth, Hampshire
St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Old Weston, Northants St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N. Yorks Life of St. John the Baptist : Cerne Abbas, Dorset St. John the Evangelist, Selling, Kent St. John the Evangelist, Weston Longville, Norfolk St. Margaret of Antioch : Old Weston, Northants St. Margaret and the dragon : South Newington, Oxfordshire St. Margaret of Antioch Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland
St. Margaret of Antioch, Life of : Charlwood, Surrey Life of St. Margaret, Wendens Ambo, Essex Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Duxford, Cambridgeshire Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire NEW St. Martin dividing his cloak, Chalgrave, Beds St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, Dorset St Michael, with kneeling donor, South Newington, Oxfordshire NEW St.Nicholas of Myra, life of : Little Horwood, Bucks
St. Nicholas of Myra, two miracles of : Wissington, Suffolk St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the Barrel, Padworth, Berkshire St.Paul : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Paul, Hook Norton, Oxon NEW St. Paul : Beckley, Oxon St. Paul : Selling, Kent St. Peter, Hook Norton, Oxon NEW St. Peter : Beckley, Oxon
St.Peter : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Peter, Martyrdom of : Chacombe, Northants St. Peter : Selling, Kent SS. Peter & Paul, Old Idsworth, Hampshire NEW St. Roch : Pinvin, Worcs St. Sexburga? : Willingham, Cambs S. Stephen, Martyrdom of, North Stoke, Oxon St. Stephen, Stoning of: Black Bourton, Oxon
St. Stephen, Stoning of: Catfield, Norfolk St.Swithun (?) enthroned : Old Weston, Northants Scenes from the life of St. Swithun : Corhampton, Hampshire St. Thomas Becket, blessing, Hauxton, Cambs. St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, Marston Magna, Somerset St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, North Stoke, Oxfordshire St.Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Burlingham, Norfolk St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Newington, Oxfordshire
St. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Zita : Horley, Oxon St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon Unidentified female saint : Heydon

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